LA Based, 5 piece band FUSED BY DEFIANCE has released the official music video for their single, “Cancel Culture.” Originally premiered on GHOST CULT MAGAZINE, “Cancel Culture” was directed and edited by Ron Underwood.
“Cancel culture is a powerful weapon that when used appropriately, has the power to take down disgusting human-beings in less than 140 characters; something most court systems can’t manage to do in 140 days. But like a vigilante with no moral code or restraint, it can easily tip toward the dark-side. This song talks about the inappropriate usage of cancel culture. Metaphorically, a virus in the system; that searches through a person’s past and finds the one thing that may be able to bring them down as a petty response or knee jerk reaction to a human occasion. What cancel culture in this instance fails to take into account is the fallibility of humanity. Within this cycle is a tale of growth through experience which in current times are posted for public review. We are all human and all make mistakes, however only in the fallacy of stagnation does cancel culture become its own demise.” – FUSED BY DEFIANCE
Fused By Defiance, also known as FxD, is a five piece band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 2012. They incorporate sounds of Rock, Metal, Rap and Funk, coupled with socially conscious lyrics, to create songs that will move both your body and your mind. Add in their naturally energetic performance and the live shows become an event to remember, or as one fan put it, “Poetry In Motion.”
India based Indie Hip Hop band NO FLAG, led by bombastic rap artist Raoul Kerr (Bloodywood), has released the third and final single, “Raise No Flag,” off of their debut EP, The Guerrilla Games.
The movement uses music videos to unite people for a cause, with the help of individuals and organizations that offer real world solutions, and the strength of an audience ready to help; No Flag is ultimately going to go beyond the music to create a long lasting, real world impact.
Their latest video “Raise No Flag” is a rallying cry for the world to continue to work together after we overcome COVID19. It’s an international call to arms against the climate emergency and every global injustice faced by humanity today. It also marks the Official Launch of the No Flag movement.
The Guerrilla Games is a three track EP by Raoul Kerr. It derives its name from “guerrilla warfare” which is “the engagement in a war fought by small groups of irregular soldiers against typically larger regular forces”. In the context of the EP it describes the nature of the No Flag movement as a digital army of people across the world that is using pop culture, the internet and focused mass action to dismantle the current system that serves a few, in order to create a new system that benefits everyone.
The first track, “Exhale,” draws attention to the air pollution crisis of New Delhi and is an appeal to the government to take serious action.
The second track, “The Nation Needs To Know,” uses a rabid news anchor to highlight the systemwide corruption of India that extends beyond politics, and is a call to action for everybody to take responsibility and build a better nation.
The third and final track, “Raise No Flag,” marks the launch of the No Flag movement. It is a rallying cry for the world to continue to work together after we defeat COVID19 as well as an international call to arms against the climate emergency and every global injustice faced by humanity today. The EP highlights different levels of an individual’s responsibility. The three songs progress from issues at state level, to national and then international level. The message is that we have to work together at all three levels in order to comprehensively reshape the world. This EP is a blueprint for the movement.
Launched off the back of The Guerrilla games EP, No Flag’s clothing and merchandise include the black and white No Flag Original, and limited editions in the form of the Guerrilla Games edition and One Love edition.
The No Flag Original is a 100% certified, environmentally responsible t-shirt and certified by Fair Trade and the Global Organic Textile Standard, made using Fair Trade, organic cotton which is grown using natural seeds and no toxic chemicals such as chemical fertilizers or pesticides. This results in energy and water saving, maintenance of soil health and less financial burdens on the farmers. It also ensures they are paid fair prices for their crops, along with an additional premium that they can use to build infrastructure for their communities or invest in new technology for their fields.
The factories that manufactured the t-shirts are also certified by Fair Trade, meaning better wages, no child labor or unsafe working conditions.
The No Flag Original was manufactured by an environmentally responsible t-shirt company: No Nasties.
Both limited editions (Guerrilla Games and One Love) are made from Fair trade organic cotton as well and are stepping stones on the way to a completely environmentally responsible line up. All of t-shirts are packaged in an organic cotton pouch which is sealed in a recycled paper box. The logo on the box is printed using water based ink.
Fair trade is an arrangement designed to help producers in developing countries achieve sustainable and equitable trade relationships. Members of the fair trade movement add the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as improved social and environmental standards.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognized as the world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well.
We talk his latest EP, Spike Lee, and the future of rap
Jack Austin (JA): When did you first begin rapping?
Mallz: Oh man, I started way back when I was 10 years old, it was just for fun and making parodies of songs and stuff. I just kept doing it throughout the years. But I got really serious about it in high school and then actually decided to pursue it as a career option towards the end of college. I started recording probably when I was in middle school. I just had a boom box, and plug in headphones, and a mic set and just rapped into that, trying to make pause tapes but just really wasn’t good at it. And then in middle school I met a friend of mine named Nim. And we became really tight, and we just met because we were both friends, we were both into comic books, and liked to draw. And we both found out we rapped. So we sort of formed a rap group in high school, and he had a recording set up so all my high school tapes were recorded at my friend Nim’s house.
JA: Growing up, who did you listen to?
Mallz: I’m a little bit older and I also have an older brother who introduced me to hip hop, so my memories of hip hop go a little bit further back than a lot of other people. My earliest memories are of listening to Run DMC, Fat Boys, LL [Cool J], Public Enemy, I started to get my own taste in music around the time when I was like 7 or 8, and it was when I heard Big Daddy Kane and Rakim, and De La Soul, and later on A Tribe Called Quest. I grew up within the culture.
JA: Who do you listen to now? Who influences your music the most?
Mallz: Who I listen to now, I still listen to all the old stuff, as far as hip hop goes, all the stuff I grew up listening to. Current artists that I listen to Kendrick, Open Mike Eagle, I listen to a lot of non-hip hop stuff like Hiatus Coyote, I’m a big jazz fan, I love Coltrane and Thelonius Monk, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, kind of all over the place.
JA: What do you think the biggest differences are between this EP and earlier albums like Hustler of Culture and Subject to Change?
The big difference is that this one wasn’t all my idea, it wasn’t all my control. The new EP Radioheads started out from this producer I know named Steve Skyline who actually worked on my previous album Subject to Change. He’s been in a bunch of beat battles in the area, and he would always come in second or he would lose to the eventual winner in some of the early rounds. And so finally he won, and part of his prize was an interview on the radio show that I co-host with DJ Samps. While we were doing the interview, and during the time we were off the air just playing songs, live songs on the air, he just came up with the idea DJ Samps will make the samples, you’ll [Skyline] chop up the records and make the beat, and then I’ll rap on it. DJ Samps kind of acted as executive producer and all I did was just rap, I didn’t have to worry about the direction of it or anything. It was a team effort. Musically, I would say there is more of what I like to say flexing on it. I have one song which is about a topic and theme of me being an introvert and a loner, and being on my own but the rest of it is just fun, boastful hip hop, you know ‘I’m good’ type stuff.
JA: In the past were you more involved in production aspects?
Mallz: Not yet…. I’ve been kind of learning it but haven’t really fully committed to sitting down and getting those 10,000 hours to become proficient. I haven’t totally immersed myself. I have my toe in it [production]. It is coming.
JA: How did you like working with DJ Samps?
Mallz: He is the homie. He is a staple and huge supporter of North Carolina hip hop going back about 20 years. Like Little Brother and Justus League,, all those guys came through his radio station. He played all of their records, any up and coming artists in the area, or the state, really. He played their records. So I met up with him, it’s been a few years since I first moved out to the Triangle Area which is Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. When I first moved out here, he invited me up to the radio station, and I just kept coming. I ended up co-host [of a rap show]. We would always talk about music, we had similar tastes and attitudes towards it. He managed a group called Third Day, so he knows what he’s talking about. He was definitely somebody I trusted and why I would be a part of this project.
JA: Earlier you mentioned a lot of Radioheads is flexing. Beyond that, what are you trying to say with the EP? Is there a unifying message?
Mallz: In all of my music I do try to put in some medicine with the flashy stuff. I do try to have some stuff, if I’m bragging on the mic, I will try to have something you can take and keep with you, where you’re like “Ah man, that’s good.” So I have references of people who I admire like James Baldwin, Huey [Newton] and Malcolm X [on “Super Saiyan”]. I kind of came up in the days of Public Enemy and X Clan, and artists and groups that had the party records and they had fun, but at the same time you were getting something from it. I don’t necessarily have one specific message that I try to get out there. I just want you to take something, learn something about a reference to a person or a book, or anything you’ve never heard of. Maybe it will inspire somebody to go look it up and check it out. They might like it, they might not, but that’s giving you more than “hey, I rap good.”
JA: I noticed that line about James Baldwin and Malcom X. Could you elaborate on why they are important to you?
Mallz: Just reading their work, reading about their lives, and being a black man who grew up in the South, knowing about your history and American history and the truth about American history, I think it is very important. For me personally, I try to give a piece of me in my music and put in things that I was influenced by whether its music, literature, art, or whatever. I reference Salvador Dali, he’s my favorite artist. It’s giving a picture of me, the things I’m into. I think it’s important to have that human element in music and especially in rap. A lot of people get caught up in the material things or just the ‘I’m better than you’, and it’s okay to be human. And these are the things that make me human.
JA: Do you think coming from North Carolina affects your music at all? If so, how?
Mallz: I think so, but North Carolina is in a funny position that it is right in the middle between New York and Florida. And a lot of people from New York have family in North Carolina. I’m from the country, like I grew up in a one traffic light town. So I’m country, but there is still that connection to New York, and with my age, all the rap I listened to at a certain point was New York rap. So I have those Southern sensibilities, taking my time, and the whole Southern hospitality thing, but the fact that we are right in the middle between the Deep South and Up North, you kind of get everything. And also, I’m from Northeastern Carolina. I’m currently in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area which is kind of central, a little closer to the east, but kind of central. So I-95 is in between where I’m from and where I am now. You get this amalgamation of all these people, not to mention with all the universities in North Carolina, Duke, UNC has branches all across the state. You get people from all over, so you have grown up, from when I was a child to high school, in a small town, I was isolated. Then going to college and meeting people from all over it gives you a more rounded sensibility. That’s why I tell people who aren’t from North Carolina, that as far as music goes North Carolina doesn’t really have a sound because we are influenced by so much around us. We are close to the DC Maryland area, so we are no strangers to Go Go music. There’s part of North Carolina that really gets down with what is now the Southern Trap family. Then there’s the traditional boom-bap sound. And West Coast and Midwest and everything. We don’t have a sound you can pinpoint like ‘Ah, that’s the North Carolina sound.’ We are the sum of all of these regions.
JA: You’ve mentioned your age a couple times. How old are you?
Mallz: I’m 38. So I’m in a weird position where a lot of the up and coming rappers look at me as an OG, but my OG’s are still active so it’s kinda weird.
JA: So your album cover uses an iconic image of Radio Raheem from Do the Right Thing who is known for blasting Public Enemy throughout the film. I know you mentioned you listen to Public Enemy earlier. Why did you choose this image? Was there something that particularly resonated with you about that character?
Mallz: Well Spike Lee is one of my favorite directors, Do the Right Thing is one of my favorite movies. My middle name is Raheem, so when I first saw Do the Right Thing I just automatically connected with Radio Raheem, cause how often do you see characters with the name Raheem. The fact that he loved his music, everywhere he went he had his box playing music, and I was the same way. So it just made sense to go with Radio Raheem, and also with the passing of Bill Nunn not too long ago I felt it would be a nice tribute.
JA: How would you describe your sound overall? Do you see that changing in the future?
Mallz: So I would describe it as traditional East Coast hip hop. I’m very, I’m not necessarily punchline oriented but I like witty rap. Things that you might not think of at first, I try to be not so complex that you just don’t get it til later, but you listen and you’re like “Ah!’. I don’t like to consider myself Old School just because there are connotations with that phrase, but traditional hip hop is how I like to consider myself…..
Well yeah, I feel growth and change is inevitable. Throughout my career I like to switch up the way I rap from song to song, but I feel it… will be an evolution rather than a change, like a quick turn. In college I rapped with a lot of punchlines and a lot of similes, and I kind of moved away from that. But if you listen to me then and listen to me now you can tell how I got there. So I definitely see myself growing into something similar, but not necessarily a stark change.
JA: What are your goals for the future?
Mallz: Honestly if I could just maintain my creativity, continue to reach people, to reach more people, obviously to reach a wider audience. I’m good with that, I never wanted to be a superstar rapper that can’t go to the store, like I’m in Walgreen’s right now, and nobody is bothering me, and I like that. Even when I was a kid, I never wanted to be that guy that had to have security to go to the store. Just to be the blue collar, who has his lunch pail and his hard hat, hits the road, hits the studio, does his work, and chills. That’s all I’ve ever wanted, and on some level I’ve achieved that. That’s something I tell younger guys coming, and first off, know what you want, and if you are shows at bars and pubs that’s okay. If you want to continue to do that that’s okay too. If you want to be doing stadium shows and everything, alright, you’ve got a goal. What are you going to do to progress to that? I would like to have myself touring a little bit more, overseas, across country, right now I”m pretty much up and down the East Coast and a little in the Midwest. I would like to expand my reach. The music is out there but my physical self hasn’t gone to the West Coast yet or to Europe or Asia or anything like that. I definitely would love to have that happen.
JA: What’s the toughest part about making a living as a musician?
Mallz: It’s fighting through the noise and the clutter. Because everyone is doing it. And I have to remind myself. There are a lot of good rappers out there, why should someone listen to me? The hardest part is just making your way among all the other people doing the same thing. Cause when I started there wasn’t that many people rapping, and now every third person you bump into raps. To distinguish yourself from all the other people doing it, and now you have this thing with everyone being on the internet and things going viral. Things go viral, things that people don’t like go viral. I tell people if you want to be famous you have to be really really good or really really bad, because people will share the bad stuff. And they may not be around for a while. To rise above all that stuff is probably the hardest thing.
JA: What’s the most rewarding part about making music for you?
Mallz: Just creating something. At the base, the core of it, is just the joy of creating. I still write pen and paper, I start with a blank page. And how ever long it takes me to make a song. I record myself, I open up my program, and then boom there’s a song there. Just creating is very rewarding. Also when I perform to see the response of the people in the crowd, whether they like it or not, it’s rewarding cause it let’s me see alright, that’s one to keep, that’s a good one.
JA: How do you see rap evolving in the next 30 years? How long do you think it will remain the most popular genre?
Mallz: It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. But all things do change. So I do feel like in the next 30 years it will go back to how it was where you have to be actually good. Because people move on from stuff. And I don’t know what will cause it. But it will happen. I don’t think rap will just stay the Number One genre, but I think what replaces it will be influenced by it.
Over a year in the making, Potent P’s “Cadillac Joe” features 20 new tracks with over 10 different producers from around the world. The concept for the album came from a nick name given to Potent P by his father, after he got his first Cadillac.
“Cadillac Joe” showcases diversity, dedication and is a true representation of hard work.
You can listen to the full album and get your free download on Potent P’s website, find the link below.
Born into an abusive and broken home, nothing has ever been easy for Potent P. A true student of the old school, he combines his real life experience with an often times offensive opinion. Creating music that is raw. A true musician in every sense of the word. He started playing drums at just 5 years old. In and out of the studio since the age of 13 with a love for music that is unmatched. Touching on topics like politics and religion, P walks a fine line most MC’s are too scared to touch. Emerging from a dark place better known as the garden state Potent P is a force of aggression that grows stronger with every record.
As fall approaches, college semesters begin and preseason camps heat up for athletes around the world, R.A.R.E. Nation offers music for the soundtrack to that vibe. Ten tracks full of energy from the artists of R.A.R.E. Nation to aid in pregaming for a party, motivation to go that extra mile during your workout or championship game, or giving you that extra boost of energy during your day.
Short Bio: Founded in 2012, R.A.R.E. Nation is a Pittsburgh-based music entertainment company. R.A.R.E. stands for “Revitalizing Art; Reinventing Emotion,” and our primary goal is to bring the life and musicality back to hip hop. Through our unique artists and their music, we aim to paint a picture of life’s ups and downs and instill individuality, self-motivation and self-confidence in our listeners in the hopes that we can help improve their lives and the communities we reach.
video at vimeo.com/72458130(view in HD) Facebook | Twitter [@the_ragelife] | Bandcamp | Soundcloud
¡OYE!, P/1 and DJ *hitmayng are Midwest trio RAGELIFE, presenting the Mark Gage-directed music video for “Champagne Range”, the single from their forthcoming self-titled full-length. “Champagne Range” features production and a vocal appearance from Klassik, the rapper/producer/musician named Radio Milwaukee’s 2012 Artist Of The Year whose In The Making album features single “Forever Whatever” (click to watch video). The group recently represented the University of Wisconsin and the greater Midwest Region at the 2012 National College Battle of the Bands in Los Angeles, a competition that has presented acts such as Raquel Rodriquez, Land of Pines, and Mike Posner. They have shared the stage with artists such as Ludacris, Wale, Janelle Monae, Lil B, Kids These Days, Prof, and Mac Miller, Chance the Rapper, Dumbfoundead, and Watsky. “RAGELIFE is the intersection of hard work, constant energy, all while having the time of your life,” says ¡OYE! “Always living in the moment. The project started on the stage, so we tried to keep that level of energy throughout the post apocalyptic journey that is RAGELIFE.” The RAGELIFE LP drops August 20.
Straight from Amsterdam, Netherlands the crew Soul Daad is releasing their first music video “King Hong Kong”. The track was produced by Vice Vic with vocals by Gianski, De Nigga Dwayne & Vice Vic.
This is the first video off the crews upcoming album: “Solomon Dado”.
The name “Soul Daad” might sound familiar, as they recently collaborated with the Stereo Boyz/ Stereo Crew from Detroit, MI to release their album AMSTERTROIT and have since become the dutch representation of Stereo Crew. In case you missed AMSTERTROIT, you can find a link to the album below.
Enjoy the video to “King Hong Kong”. Music is universal!
With his latest release, ‘Last Time’, Ice Cold Sophist serves up hard hitting raps about real life and trying to break out from the underground to reach new heights. A dark baseline drives the scenic lyricism with an accompanying snare that sounds more like a late-night train ride than anything else, with the Sophist serving as the conductor of this trip. The track serves as an offering from his long-anticipated forthcoming full-length release, ‘Beautiful Destruction’, due this fall.
About ICE COLD SOPHIST aka iCS
Born and bred in Detroit, Michigan, USA. Ice Cold Sophist (shortened as ‘iCS’) comes from the generation of kids born in the 80’s and raised in the 90’s; the crop old enough to remember hip-hop’s infamous golden years, yet baring witness to the rise of Cash Money Records and the break out of classic hip-hop albums such as 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Trying. Penning his first rhyme at 12 years old, iCS’s brand of lyricism is rooted in the gritty upbringing of his environment, yet offers a poetic form that challenges the listener to reflect on the wordplay. With a passionate delivery sewn over down-tempo production the music seems to still have an upbeat feel. If that sounds like a contradiction, though, that’s understandable, because Ice Cold Sophist is all about breaking from the norms while also embracing the idiosyncrasies of what it means to be human. This is characterized through a sonic package that seems to draw inspiration from a variety of musical genres, including hip-hop, R&B, electro, synth, and alternative. Currently unsigned, ICS co-founded the production company Cold Capital Funhouse in 2011 in order to release his music independently.
Detroit’s Powerhouse Stereo Crew presents “The Empire Strikes Rap” series. Every thursday until August 13th (which marks the Stereo Boyz’ “Carz, Clubz & Theaterz” album release) the Crew drops a newly recorded, free song on their Bandcamp page.
The second song “Big Dreams” features Perfect Eclipse and was produced by Stereo Crew member & Beat Battle champion Sacramento Knoxx.
Carried by an extremely smooth and summer feel beat, Perfect Eclipse and Stereo Crew members Kid Boombox, Vinnie Bazz, Mic Audio, Brand New and Mixo flow effortlessly.
This song is about “Big Dreams”, the things envisioned for a bright future and it invites to cruise in a droptop while the sun is beaming on your head, noddin’ to the beat.
Detroit’s Powerhouse Stereo Crew presents “The Empire Strikes Rap” series. Everythursday until August 13th (which marks the Stereo Boyz’ “Carz, Clubz & Theaterz” album release) the Crew drops a newly recorded, free song on their Bandcamp page.
The second song “Big Dreams” features Perfect Eclipse and was produced by Stereo Crew member & Beat Battle champion Sacramento Knoxx.
Carried by an extremely smooth and summer feel beat, Perfect Eclipse and Stereo Crew members Kid Boombox, Vinnie Bazz, Mic Audio, Brand New and Mixo flow effortlessly.
This song is about “Big Dreams”, the things envisioned for a bright future and it invites to cruise in a droptop while the sun is beaming on your head, noddin’ to the beat.
Patrick “P.A.T” Barnett is back with his latest music video for his verse on he and fellow Runway Boy Venem’s song from their forthcoming album “The Adjustment Bureau” entitled “Playin’ Games”. The song is about the issues that arise sometimes in relationships between men and women. The video features emcee P.A.T. and model Mico The Great and has production by King Kong of Monkey Donk Productions; press play and enjoy. Be on the lookout for Runway Boyz Clothing which will be coming soon to a web address near you. If you would like to hear the full version of P.A.T. and Venem’s “Playin’ Games” click here: https://soundcloud.com/patrick-barnett1/playin-games-feat-p-a-t-prodOff of success from the mixtape scene Runway Boyz P.A.T. and Venem will be releasing a joint album together. The album has been named “The Adjustment Bureau”. As a precursor to the album a mixtape entitled “Prior to Adjustment” will be released featuring old favorites from both artists as well as a few new tracks. These works will also feature production from King Kong of Monkey Donk Productions.
About Patrick P.A.T. Barnett
P.A.T. stands for my Poetic And Talented side. An Air Force veteran and brat born in Bitburg, Germany but quickly left when his father decided to retire and has yet to return home for a visit. Now residing in the US. The best of all worlds: street smarts, book smarts, business savvy and even managed to get some common sense.
Lefty and Random are on fire right now. They have connected with the hottest artist in the southwest area of the USA, Futuristic from Arizona who has worked with Funk Volume Superstar Dizzy Wright. These guys came together and created a master piece called Doubt Me. It is produced by Mr. Throwed and the track speaks on people that have doubted these guys in the past and present. Make sure you listen and make sure you download this track now. This track is off of lefty’s upcoming album My Views which drops August 7th, 2013.
F.Y.I. also known as Foreshadow, is a co-founder of the Los Angeles based rap group, Those Chosen.
His musical journey began with Those Chosen in the mid-2000’s culminating in recording over 100 songs and the release of videos, mixtapes, and official commercial releases.
F.Y.I. helped to bring Those Chosen to prominence over the last several years which eventually landed them URB Magazine’s Top 25 Artists to Watch title along with a distribution deal with Wes Jackson’s, President/Founder of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, indie digital imprint Savannah Boogie. Upon signing to the imprint, F.Y.I. helped write some of the major hits that ended up being a part of the critically acclaimed ep, 5IVE.
A record produced mainly by Grammy-Award winning super producer, IZ Avila (of the Avila Brothers) and
featured the #3 record on U.S. College Radio, Soundclash, along with cuts like Spare Tires, and The 1ne.
Follow up projects and videos with Those Chosen allowed F.Y.I. to work with some of hip-hop’s brightest stars such as Alex Da Kid, Rich Kidd, T.H.X., Ras Kass, and Ab-Soul along with helping him build an audience through touring in cities, appearing on MTV2, and performing at major music festivals like CMJ, A3C Hip-Hop Festival, and the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.
F.Y.I.’s charisma and passion for music caught the attention of an European network which allowed him to star/co-host in a reality show called Holland in Da Hood which garnered a weekly 1 million viewership for the duration of the show series. The anticipation for the show was such a hit that when the first episode debuted it became the #3 trending topic worldwide on twitter just below the NFL’s season opener.
Now F.Y.I., a self-described hueman, is on a mission to continue to color the world with his songs, tweets, and videos by splashing it with new pictures. His upcoming record, Yo! The Places You’ll Go is his most polished and personal record to date. The record features groundbreaking beats which compliment the always outspoken and sometimes controversial emcee on a new chapter in his journey through having message over mayhem and walking by faith not by sight.
It makes perfect sense that F.Y.I.’s latest video puts the viewer right into the heart of Los Angeles’ afterhours scene where hoodsters, hipsters, and everything in between can become somebody else even if it is for a moment. Which leaves folks to ask the question, “What does it profit the party goer to become totally turned up but lose control?”
Southwest Detroit MC DPress drops new visuals for the song “Creative Coma” off his debut album “The Lions Den”.
“The Lions Den” is the first official project for the 20-yr-old artist and member of Detroit’s Stereo Boyz crew who has released several compilation albums over the past couple of years.
The tracks were inspired during a period of recovery from a series of personal and psychological setbacks after dropping out at the 9th grade when school failed him. Making music through a period of depression and isolation came to form a healing process of “writing myself I guess back to life.” Evident on “Chargin’ Up” (“nah, we don’t need elitists/we some revolutionary educated pissed-off leaders”).
Rhymes provoke thought and action; some like pages from a reporter’s notebook, recording fragments of everyday life and trying to capture the truth, others taking a stand—with riffs on immigration, the school system, prison industry, and his hometown Detroit, telling true stories of “the place where the people remain hungry/stuff you can’t imagine /fuck if you find it funny.” You also get some sharp swords and strong bars from the young lyricist who says he’s “something like your average rapper/only difference is I show damage after.”
Beats on The Lions Den were produced by local and national talent.
“Behind The Mic” is the new video from German producer iGadget featuring Edo G and the Stereo Boyz.
During their tour stop in Berlin, Germany the Stereo Boyz recorded their vocals as well as video scenes for this collabo with Edo G and iGadget (Beatevolution).
The video was shot both in Berlin and Detroit. While the scenes recorded in Germany show Edo G and the Stereo Boyz in the studio as well as in the city of Berlin, you will also see shots of Downtown Detroit and the Stereo Boyz’ lab.
“Behind The Mic” will appear on iGadgets album, expected to be released this fall.
With iGadget’s incredibly smooth beat (sampling Grant Green’s “Idle Moments”) and a perfect combination of spitters (Edo G & Stereo Boyz) this song is a gem for all Hip Hop fans.
About Stereo Boyz
The Stereo Boyz consist of members Mixo (aka Applauze Beetz) and Mic Audio (aka Perfect Hell). Before becoming the super group Stereo Boyz they were a part of the “Rhyme Asylum” (1999 – 2008), a group that claimed a reputation of being one of Detroit’s most hardcore underground rap groups. Performing since a young age, the two MCs have created an undeniable stage presence, they master the ceremony, and in countless freestyle competitions the Stereo Boyz have earned the respect of every emcee they came across. Completing a three month tour across Europe in late 2011, with shows in Germany, France and Switzerland the Stereo Boyz have been internationally approved by fans abroad.
With Mixo coming from Detroit and Mic Audio from Chicago they have created a perfect fusion of the Midwest. Combining strong lyrics with catchy hooks, their sound merges the best of both worlds: clever rhymes and beats that any hip hop fan will nod their head or move their feet to.The mixtape “Sound Check Vol 1” was their first group effort and has earned praises from rap fans worldwide, as well as Mic Audios following solo project “Biblical Fearical”. The Stereo Boyz dropped their EP “Live from the Ghettoblaster” on January 22nd 2011 and their highly anticipated debut album “Carz, Clubz & Theatrez” is set to be released in the summer of 2012. Constantly in the studio recording and working on new beats and rhymes the group has several mixtapes from all group members coming out, making it impossible to be slept on.
The Stereo Boyz represent the past, present, & future of Detroit Hip-Hop. Their combination of Detroit Motown and Chicago’s House & Electro Pop sound has created a midwest masterpiece. Now it’s time to share that masterpiece with the world.
Lefty follows up his last singles which are The Industry Featuring Freeway and Random aka Megaran and Aint’t Fucken Wit Me Featuring Cory Gunz and Rugaz with his first video for his song Katy Perry Produced by Hexsagon. Trust me when I tell you, this is a banger for real and the way he put this concept together it out of this world. Once you see this video and get the concept, you are going to wet your pants. This song is off of lefty’s upcoming album “My Views” coming out August 7th, 2013. Download this song now and share it with your friends by clicking the link below.
Many hip-hop artists claim titles like Entrepreneur, Hustler, or Go-Getter, but none exemplify this title better than Lefty. Born Kareem Williams in South Philadelphia, PA, Lefty, the son of The Late Doo Wop singer Charles Williams From “The Turbans”, began his quest to hip-hop stardom in 1998, rapping his heart out on the set of Philly Most Wanted video shoot for legendary producer Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes, heavily influenced by 2Pac, E-40, Eightball and MJG and more, as part of a South Philly rap group named Plead Da Fifth, including Takedown Records star Daytona, among others. After dropping 3 well received mixtapes with the group, Lefty, decided to become a co-owner of Lab Addicts studio. He helped shape the careers of noted Philly rappers NH, Random (aka Mega Ran) and many more.
Never one to hustle backwards, Lefty decided to leave the studio and mic behind in 2003 to focus on business ownership and family life. After putting up amazing numbers in the MLM (Multi-Level-Marketing) and Internet marketing business and relocating to Phoenix, AZ, Lefty is now returning to the hip-hop world with a vengeance, boasting an improved flow and sharper business mind. On the side, Lefty hosts a high profile hip-hop gossip blog, and has conducted interviews with some of the biggest names in Reality Television and Adult Entertainers.
Lefty’s first single “The Industry,” features legendary Philly MC Freeway, as well as Random aka Megaran. His upcoming album release will feature several noted guests, including Corey Gunz (Young Money), Journalist, Daytona, Mr. Charlie (Suave House) and more. Multiple hustles, many talents. One Lefty.
Emmitt James (born 2/5/93) a Milwaukee, Wis born and raised poet/musician. James at heart is a poet, which shows vividly in his music. He has been compared to other Midwest greats; Common, Kanye West, and Lupe Fiasco but has influences from nearly all genres of music.
Off of the success of his first mixtape Where The Sidewalk Ends, which was downloaded over 50,000 times, underground emcee Patrick “P.A.T.” Barnett(Fort Worth, TX) is currently working on his second mixtape entitled Go Hard or Go Home(GHOGH). The lead single is a song entitled Smoke&Mirrors. Take a listen. Support and Purchase the Where The Sidewalk Ends EP which debuted on iTunes Top 100 Hip Hop/Rap charts here (Available at All Major Digital Retailers).
About Patrick P.A.T. Barnett
Rapper Patrick “P.A.T.” Barnett A twentysomething Air Force brat born in Germany who relocated to Fort Worth with his family when he was a kid, Barnett also just got out of the Air Force, he is an Operation OEF/OIF war veteran. He describes himself as “Emcee, Author, Veteran, and a Scholar.” Inspired by hip hop culture he released his first mixtape Where The Sidewalk Ends, it was an immediate success, earning over 2.6 Million Views/Plays on Coast2Coast Mixtapes. He has grabbed the attention of several media outlets and DJs; has also been ranked number 1 locally on Reverbnation. With his versatile style P.A.T. has worked with artists from different genres and is now working on his second mixtape. He and fellow Runway Boy Venem have completed an EP together entitled “The Adjustment Bureau” and plan to release it this year. P.A.T.’s plans for the future are to continue to grow as an artists and to work with other new artists as well as learn all aspects of the music business.
Dr. Dog, Earl Sweatshirt, Lights, Oberhofer, The Knocks, St. Lucia + More
Full 2013 Line Up:
EARL SWEATSHIRT / DR. DOG / PAPER DIAMOND / ST. LUCIA / AER / HOPSIN / 12TH PLANET / OBERHOFER / LIGHTS / BREAK SCIENCE / VACATIONER / GENTLEMEN HALL / CODES / SPENCER ALBEE / MY PET DRAGON / THA JIST / LUCIUS / X AMBASSADORS / LADY LAMB THE BEEKEEPER / RDGLDGRN / SPOSE / BLACK LIGHT DINNER PARTY / THE WEEKS / JUNIOR ASTRONOMERS / B. AULL / THE KNOCKS / CRUNK WITCH / LAZERDISK PARTY SEX / THE DIRTY GEMS / GRAVEYARD LOVERS / YOUNG READERS / THE SUMMIT OF THIEVES / SKöSH / TOUSSAINT MORRISON / EIGHT FEET TALL / BRITE LITE BRITE / THE BYNARS / LATE CAMBRIAN / HERRA TERRA / MEAN CREEK / OF THE TREES / ULA RUTH / THE GHOST OF PAUL REVERE / BISCUITS AND GRAVY / DJ HOMEWRECKER / ONE SHOT NOTHING / THE RICE CAKES / THE BOX TIGER / WORRIED WELL / WHEN PARTICLES COLLIDE / CARO KHAN / DJ MEETCH / EPIC SEASON / SUN CLUB / BENJAMIN DUNN AND ANIMAL ORCHESTRA / THE UGLY CLUB /JET BLACK SUNRISE / NORTH OF NASHVILLE
The KahBang music | art | film Festival is proud to release the full 2013 music line up. Headlining the Festival this year is rock band Dr. Dog and Odd Future group member, hip-hop artist Earl Sweatshirt. New additions include St. Lucia, Gentleman Hall, Vacationer, X Ambassadors, Caro Khan, My Pet Dragon, Spencer Albee, and North of Nashville. KahBang is also showcasing emerging musicians from all over North America, playing genres that include: indie, electronic, rock, hip-hop, country-rock, electro-pop, rap, and indie- folk.
“Not since our founding year in 2009 have I been more excited for our event. We took an approach this year that focused on building a festival and not just a concert, and I’m overwhelmed by the result. We have more to offer to the public than any year before, and most of it is free. For our returning fans this is the richest experience they’ll ever have and have something to be excited about and enjoy from the moment our doors open to till the sun risesSunday morning. Get ready for one amazing KAHBANG weekend. We’re excited to host New England and visitors from afar.” -Tim Lo, KahBang Executive Director
In its fifth year, KahBang has changed the structure of the Festival and is offering most events free of charge to the general public. Available at no cost are multiple music stages and all art and film on Waterfront Festival Grounds. Information on the KahBang Film Festival and complete film line up may be viewed at www.kahbangfilmfest.org. The Main Stage, Dance Stage, Bangor Brew Fest, and Campsite Stage are separately ticketed events. Tickets to these events are available at www.kahbang.com/tickets or at the KahBang office at 84 Harlow St, Bangor, ME.
“Our team has spent the last nine months planning the coolest birthday party we could think to throw ourselves. KAHBANG is all about discovery and we decided very early on to adapt our format to allow more people to experience our event without having to buy a ticket. The music lineup is the most diverse we have ever assembled and we have already had incredible response from people all over the country letting us know how excited they are to participate in this year’s event. We began this festival in part to showcase Bangor and we are encouraging people from New England and all over to come and explore what KAHBANG and this region has to offer. I don’t believe they will be disappointed.” -Joshua Gass, KahBang Creative Director
KahBang kicks off with a free concert in West Market Square at 5 pm on Thursday August 8th. Festival Grounds will open at 1:00 pm on Friday August 9th. For information on Bangor Brew Fest please visitwww.bangorbrewfest.com.
For more information on other events and the KahBang Festival please visit www.kahbang.com
Since 2002, Jaime Meline (best known by his rapper moniker El-P) has unknowingly become one of the most important rap artists of this generation. In an era where sensationalism and lavishness has conquered the hip-hop scene, El-P has locked himself away in his laboratory, all while creating memorable and poetic lyrical escapades that no one has come close to matching. Well…except Michael Render (best known as Killer Mike). Killer Mike has guest rapped on tracks by Jay-Z, OutKast and T.I., but once he started making solo albums, you could see that he didn’t really fit in with many of the artists he collaborated with. Much like El-P, Killer Mike is an intellectual rapper, one disguised behind a very approachable rapping style. When these two geniuses united on Killer Mike’s 2012 solo record, R.A.P. Music (with El-P running production), it was clear that these guys had unquestionable musical chemistry. R.A.P. Music became one of the best received albums of 2012 and anticipation for whatever they were cooking up next was reaching a crazy high. R.A.P. Music let Killer Mike’s intense rap delivery shine, with El-P’s production injecting subtle and textured concentration to the already sturdy tracks. With the duo’s official collaboration album Run the Jewels, El-P and Killer Mike let both of their established essences go crazy.
Meline’s fascination with post-apocalyptic sci-fi is what made his previous two solo albums so potent. From the frightening visions demonstrated in “Habeas Corpses (Draconian Love)” from I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead to the paranoia-infused rhymes of “True Story” from Cancer 4 Cure, it’s clear that the Philip K. Dick fan is making something far beyond the typical rhyming mindset. The steady beats don’t clash with El-P’s signature spacey production, like the haunting piano line in “DDFH” or the otherworldly distorted synth on the opening to “Get It.” The bizarre sampling and subtle uses of melody throughout the tracks signifies a yearning to experiment. That’s always been Meline’s vibe and it’s tough to see a better example of it than here.
But El-P’s influence is only one side of the brain. Killer Mike is a monster of a rapper and the way he so forcefully delivers the already intricate rhymes on “36” Chain” alongside El-P’s spacey, but echoing production is something even unlike the already amazing R.A.P. Music. “Job Well Done” punches listeners in the face with a thunderous beat; Killer Mike raps in an unreal way, one of the strongest and most intense performances on the album, but also one with a relaxed finesse. Behind the surreal beats and rhythms, Render is a blunderbuss, a rapper who blows down the doors with his rhymes and pushes back anything that gets in his way.
But it’s when these two minds come together that it’s clear there’s something special going on with Run the Jewels. One of the signature tracks “Sea Legs” has a surprisingly catchy chorus, behind lyrics that echo El-P’s literary brilliance, all with Killer Mike on the frontlines, never stopping the onslaught. “Job Well Done” has a fantastic guest appearance by Until the Ribbon Breaks and an ethereal chorus that stands out on the album considerably. The other guest appearances from Prince Paul and OutKast’s Big Boi layer the already fantastic tracks even further, slamming a varied approach to the album and keeping the whole thing feeling fresh. Even during the points where the duo hearkens back to their past projects like in “No Come Down” (which would sound perfect on Cancer 4 Cure or R.A.P. Music), there’s no sense of fatigue. Every bit of energy any musician can direct toward an album is present on Run the Jewels, but even with that, it’s an organic, almost playful album. It shows not only how seriously the duo works with their craft, but also how effortlessly they can make something truly brilliant.
Run the Jewels isn’t as cosmic as Cancer 4 Cure, nor is it as thunderous as PL3DGE, but there’s a steady balance that both Meline and Render contribute to the album. Each artist does what they do best, all without compromising the other. It doesn’t even feel like a collaboration; it feels like a rap duo purely drenched in synergy. There are no seams, no holes in the patchwork. Run the Jewels is an effortless hit, one where two undeniably talented artists leave no stone un-turned in making the album stunningly different from the rest, but still enough at home to avoid alienating either of their groups of followers.
Don’t listen to Run the Jewels because of the collaborators’ past experiences. Don’t listen to it because of the unorthodox musical approaches. Hell, don’t listen to it because it’s free to download. Listen to Run the Jewels because it’s one of the best rap albums around right now.
Run the Jewels will appear at Pittsburgh’s Altar Bar on Saturday, July 13.
DJ Spleen and Sevsnite linked up in August 2012. Both are born in Switzerland. They listen to hiphop so they had the same interests and listened to the same music. So they had the idea to make beats together and the „CLIFFTOP VANDALZ“ were founded in early october 2012. Since then they have been making beats together. It’s not easy to reach people with Hip-Hop where they live so the Clifftop Vandalz decided to do this music worldwide and connect with people from all over the world. They usually use a lot of sample stuff and boom bap drums. Early 2013 they hooked up with C.RAE from australia and a month later they put out the “BLOODY PAGES (Remix EP)” together with C.RAE for free download. After that the Clifftop Vandalz decided to do a full album, also for free download, called “GLOBAL VANDALIZM”.
Big B, aka Bryan David Mahoney, is a man of puzzling contradictions. He’s white, as all three of his real names suggest, but his main musical influences are reggae and rap. On his upcoming album he complains about our lazy, video-game-addicted fast food nation in spite of being 330 lbs. with a tattoo of the grease-chain icon Big Boy–burger in hand–inked on his belly. In an interview with Vegas radio station X107.5 Big B claims that post-911 America rejected his old band 187, and yet, I’m almost positive he has nothing to do with Al-Qaeda. Sounds like an excuse to me, Big B. You’re a hard one to pin down.
You might recognize Big B as a cast member of A&E’s Inked, one of his side jobs. He also paints cars. All of the glitz and colors that would naturally pour from someone covered in tattoos who paints vehicles on the side as he struts down the glittering Sin City Strip come out on his upcoming record, “Fool’s Gold,” a rap/rock/reggae product that sounds like a hybrid of 311, ICP, and LFO. Although I guess I’d classify him as a rapper if I was forced to pick a title, Big B never quite raps, or sings, or rock and roll yells: the lyrics are delivered in a sort of lazy, angry growl. But not actually angry, it’s more like an exuberant guy at a college party who is fake-angry for fun.
Album collaborators include Pink, Butch Walker, Slightly Stoopid, the Dirty Heads, country artist Colt Ford, and members of NOFX and Pennywise. Penny-wise the album’s producers must have been stocked: the sound is very tight, polished and professional and the invisible players behind the curtain sitting in and guest semi-stars alike play nicely together. Here and there throughout “Fool’s Gold” you’ll hear chord changes strangely reminiscent of the Beatles, sunny Kinks nods and Beach Boys turnarounds—unexpected and welcome additions.
The songs have a lot of variety to them, designed with all audiences in mind, as long as those audiences are drinking and under thirty-five. Hip hop beats and scratches meet acoustic and electric guitar hooks. Pop choruses meet pop rap mixed with radio friendly alt-rock. At times the beats and melodies are catchy in a lighthearted, summery kind of way. Riding on a boat on a lake in a small town drinking very cheap beer music, appropriately placed on said background seafaring set list in between Jimmy Buffett, Kid Rock and Afro Man. Other times the mood goes deep and introspective. Those with ink in their skin and thug in their souls gaze out their windows and think about the state of the world too, people.
If you, like Big B, have a dinner plate sized logo of an automobile manufacturer tattooed on your belly (in Big B’s case, Cadillac, but any make will do) this record might be for you. Or, if like Big B, you consider yourself “High Class White Trash,” an older album title of his, you just need to wait about a month. If you want help knowing how long that is, start counting the daily empty Busch cases you throw in your front yard: once there are thirty more out there than when you started counting, you’re golden to go snag Big B’s new album, out on Surburban Noize Records, and have yourself a Rasta-tinged, punk speckled, pop sprinkled, hootenanny of a bumpin’ party.
Rock And Hip-Hop Collide As Two Legendary Artists Come Together For The Track “We’re The Greatest” on AUTHENTIC
Music legends, Eddie Van Halen and LL COOL J, have teamed up for two songs on LL’s upcoming new album AUTHENTIC, set to release on April 30th. The rock icon joined the legendary rapper in the studio and kicked the volume up to create two genre defying songs on LL’s powerful new album.
The first track, “We’re The Greatest”, can best be described as a thunderous rock/rap anthem which includes symbolic lyrics, frenetic, over the top guitar licks played with reckless abandon and solid drum beats. The song was co-written and co-produced by LL COOL J and Eddie Van Halen at Henson Studios in Hollywood California and features Travis Barker of Blink 182 on drums.
Click HERE to listen to “We’re The Greatest” (Track 12).
Prolific in their respective genres, LL COOL J and Eddie Van Halen are synonymous with the word legendary, LL COOL J as a pioneer of Hip-Hop who has evolved his scope of work across all fields of entertainment and Eddie Van Halen a guitar virtuoso, songwriter, producer and keyboardist/pianist. Both have been cited as masters of their crafts and the similarities don’t end there. They individually (Eddie with his band Van Halen) have won Grammy’s, garnered multi-platinum albums, have topped the Billboard charts, and earned MTV Music Awards as well as many other accolades throughout their careers.
When asked why he choose to reach out to the iconic guitarist, LL COOL J replied, “This Album was born out of my true love for music and I knew Eddie shared that same vision for authentic music. I approached this song with the upmost respect for Eddie and his fans, and became friends with him through the process. I was humbled to watch a genius at work and collaborate with such a legendary and visionary artist as Eddie Van Halen, and to bring our two worlds together, was an exciting opportunity. I am thrilled he was up for the ride.”
Eddie Van Halen didn’t know what to think initially of LL COOL J’S invitation, but once he met the legendary rapper they instantly hit it off and he not only enthusiastically agreed to collaborate on “We’re The Greatest,” which also features Travis Barker, but to also play a solo on the track “Not Leaving You Tonight” which features Fitz and the Tantrums.
“The thought of me playing guitar to hip hop was definitely left of center, but I was intrigued and I agreed to meet and listen to what he had. I was not only inspired by the songs I heard, but LL’s enthusiasm, his down to earth personality, the freedom he gave me to co-create and his willingness to, for the very first time, sing the chorus on “We’re The Greatest”. It was like a breath of fresh air that I needed as an artist and an individual.”
Eddie commented further by saying, “the diversity of the songs on this album and the other artists he has collaborated with is outstanding, appealing to multiple genres of music and maybe even creating a few of our own. I feel blessed to not only have had the opportunity to work with LL but also to call him a great friend.”
This is not the first time the guitarist has teamed up with an artist outside of his genre. In 1984 his guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” has been praised for adding “the greatest guitar solo”, aiding “Beat It” into becoming one of the biggest selling singles of all time.
To preview songs and pre-order your copy of AUTHENTIC, please visit Amazon.com and iTunes.
Please contact your favorite local rock radio station and request “We’re The Greatest”.
Lyric Video for Rapper/EmCee ANGI3’s new single “Talk Shit” features fun in the club with Drag Queens!
Still teetering on the fence between pop princess and raunchy emcee, both sides ofANGI3’s considerably versatile, on-a-dime talent come out in “Talk Shit,” which dares purist rap bloggers to well, you know…talk. It’s an anthem for the ladies, a warning for the men, and somewhat of a gauntlet for hip-hop culture, as a reminder that nobody’s safe from the gossip no matter how they front. Producer/collaborator Good Goose’s snappy, atypically intense production matches the rollercoaster of timbres and boasts, from halftime march to double-time snare fills to Euro dance bridge. With a deceptively simple hook, you can practically hear Ke$ha’s neon, zebra striped underwear changing color from not thinking of it first.
Accompanying this single are an Electro House mix from Marcos Carnaval and aProgressive mix from KoKo.
Out exclusively on Beatport 4/16, iTunes and all other DSPs 4/30.
Released on January 21, 2013 in honor of MLK & Inauguration Day, BLACK GOLD perfectly blends a laid-back style with the coolness of raw power, to weave together the consummate Houston opus…REAL Houston.
“Black Gold is a Houston Album thru and thru. The REAL Houston. Its Slab dreams and working class nightmares. Its the Nigerians working at whataburger taking night classes at U of H, its the Mexican day laborers on Westpark, the Desi stores on Harwin making Hillcroft fitteds, its Frenchys, its fresh fades, its the West U kids rolling blunts with the kids from the Wards, Pick Up trucks and trailer hitches, Bubble Tea and Bun mi, the smell of Pasadena, Olajuwon in 95, McGrady in 09, the texture of the Humidity, Big Red and Robitussin, GCHC, Enron, Spice Lane, good Beef Brisket, the southern fried styles of the black and white Baptist pastors, the Astrodome and funnel cakes at Astroworld, the Bloods in Denver Harbor, the Crips in South Park and of course the first time you see 84s. Welcome to Houston: home of the most restaurants and strip clubs per capita.”
Mo’$crills Bundy releases his 1st single “My Company” off of his highly anticipated mixtape called 10,000 Hours. Prod. by BadIntentions (@_BadIntentions_) Shot & Edit by Enzo (@enzo_bellisario) Mix & Recorded by Upstreet Media (@_UpStreetMedia).
Sean Forbes would like you to know a few things. Yes, he is deaf (about 90%, due to spinal
meningitis when he was an infant), but that certainly hasn’t held him back or “handicapped” him in any
way. Second of all, he’s not just a “rapper”. He’s also a prolific drummer, songwriter and communicator.
“I’m influenced by so many different kinds of music,” Forbes says, “that it feels weird for me to be
categorized as a rapper. Yes, a lot of what I do is ‘rapping’ vocally, but the music behind it isn’t always
typical of rap or hip-hop.”
While it’s true that profoundly deaf fans like Forbes can’t hear everything on every track – the exact
pronunciation of words, subtle overdubs and faint instrumentation – with the help of hearing aids, they
can hear the rhythm, the beat, the cadence of the lyrics, and in some cases, the melody. More
importantly, however, they can feel the music. The anger of punk, the energy of techno, the raw sexuality
of rock – the emotions come through just as powerfully for the deaf as they do for the hearing. And Sean
Forbes has been obsessed with music for as long as he can remember. “Both my parents are musicians,” he says, “so growing up, music was everywhere. My mom plays piano and my dad is in a country rock band with my uncle. Around the house, they played a lot of rock and roll –the Stones, the Beatles.”
But besides just dropping the needle on their favorite records, Forbes’ parents also worked hard to make sure Sean could appreciate the sound of the world at large. They got him hearing aids, which helped him hear more. They also spent countless hours teaching him to speak, read lips, and carry on conversations with people who can’t sign. Forbes didn’t learn sign language until he was 12 and used it to communicate at school with his deaf and hard of hearing friends.
But even though they encouraged his love of music, and even got him his first drum set when he was just
five years old, Sean Forbes’ parents also urged him to be realistic. “When I first heard hip-hop,” Forbes says, “I was just like, ‘Wow!!’ It was finally something that I could fully enjoy. The way rap music is set up, I was able to really follow the beat and the drums. And the lyrics are easier for me to follow, too, because rapping almost sounds like a drummer. It’s like drumming with words.”
At age 20, Forbes made a discovery that would set his career in motion. While visiting a local recording studio frequented by Eminem and his first producers the Bass Brothers, he found a stray CD on the mixing board with one word written on it: “BEATS.” Without knowing who created the beats, or even asking who the CD belonged to, Sean took it home and started writing lyrics to go over the tracks.
Initially, he assumed the Bass Brothers had made the beats. But it turned out the “producer” was actually
Jeff Bass’ 15-year-old son, Jake. For Forbes, it was like meeting his musical soulmate. “When I heard that a deaf guy had written lyrics to my beats,” says Jake Bass, “my first reaction was ‘What?! I have to meet this guy!’ But right off the bat, he was just such a cool person, just so real, that –and I know it’s hard to believe – but the fact that he was deaf didn’t strike me as a dis-advantage. I mean people always say that you can ‘feel’ music, but it’s true. It’s beyond beats and lyrics and melody. Everyone – no matter who they are – can connect to culture through music.”
Forbes’ debut video album, “Perfect Imperfection,” came out on September 4, 2012, and comes with a DVD of
12 ground-breaking ASL music videos that are coupled with his original songs. “I consider myself a visual
artist,” he says, “sometimes even more than a recording artist. I watched a lot of MTV when I was growing up, and it made me realize that music doesn’t have to just be auditory. It can be visual, too. Like the Beastie Boys! Their videos were so whacked out and so quirky and so different, that really inspired me.” Deaf film director (and good friend) Adrean Mangiardi also integrates flowing graphic representations of the lyrics on screen. “Viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing appreciate our videos,” Mangiardi says, “because of how we use sign language and creative graphic “captioning” as a form of artistic expression along with the music itself.”
The making of “Perfect Imperfection” consists of a whole lot more than just recording tracks and shooting music videos. The album is a product of Forbes life over the past few years. Along the way, he’s had the chance to meet his childhood idols, such as Stevie Wonder, Eminem, and Marlee Matlin. He has been featured on NPR, CNN, and the Ovation Network series Motor City Rising. Achieved viral success on You-tube (One million + views). And perhaps most importantly, he has performed hundreds of live shows, for deaf and hearing audiences alike.
But if you haven’t heard the music, seen a Sean Forbes live show, or seen his music videos yet, you’re probably thinking: “Okay, he’s a role model for the deaf community, and he can talk well enough to communicate with hearing people. But can he really – I mean really – rap?” Well, to quote a music fan who heard a preview of “Perfect Imperfection” without knowing beforehand that Sean was deaf: “Where is this guy from? He’s got a really weird accent. I like it.”
“We could’ve altered his voice,” says producer Jake Bass, “but we wanted to keep it real, keep it organic.
True artists might not always be understood at first, but if it’s 100% real, people can feel that. And they
With his passion for music, Sean has opened the door to musical expression – a world historically considered off limits to people in the deaf community. His dream of music for all has helped to transform the way deaf people perceive music. Through his videos and his outreach to deaf people everywhere – particularly young people eager to feel included in popular culture – music is being presented to them as a beautiful symphony of thought and expression, available to all.
There is an excellent package of rappers doing a 60 date national tour coming through Pittsburgh (April 7 Ironworks), and hopefully your town as well, featuring Twisted Insane, Dirty Adville, J Sheetz, and Grimmace. Twisted Insane is known for his hard and fast flow (possibly the fastest rapper on the planet). Dirty Adville out of Cinci, OH has been at the game since ’99 and co-owns Open Mind Productions. He is the midst of recording a new album called, “Digital Crank” and has worked with acts such as Tech N9ne, Insane Clown Posse, D12, and Young Buck. J Sheetz also hails from Cinci and has been building a rep for the past few years opening up for the likes of Bone Thugs N’ Harmony, Young Jeezy, and Jelly Roll. Josiah Trujillo AKA Grimmace comes from Denver and was bitten by the hip hop, rap, horrorcore bug from a young age and has been involved in recording since he was 14. He is currently working on his debut to be release in 2013 through Marked Recordz. Check them out here…
Come join us in Pittsburgh April 7th 2013 at The IronWorks South Oakland/Southside
The majority of production is handled by Nola producer extraordinaire @ProProspek , but Lyrikill mixes the beat selection on a few songs, including stand out track “One Song” produced by Nola radio celebrity @MikeSwift.
Lyrikill is crafty veteran of the rap game and always takes his time with each album. As a result the Retro EP is very consistent in sound, and features by Nola artists @SuaveIsHere x @Elespee x @CNN_Niffy keep the music flowing at a nice pace.
Jerk Rock artist Raymond Starks a.k.a. “Ray RockBaby”, a Baltimore native; is a self -taught keyboardist and percussionist. His musical roots stem from the church but his edgy & forever changing sound has been compared to a mixture of Lenny Kravitz & Kayne West. “RockBaby” spent the late 90’s as a session musician for local hip hop and R&B acts receiving his first major break producing for artists Lady luck, Grafh, and Blackhand Ent.
“RayRockBaby” has been influenced by musical legends such as Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Paulihno Dacosta, Stevie Wonder, PRINCE, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and bands like Fleetwood Mac, New Edition, and Queen.
“I always goes against the grain” Ray says, “I have an attitude about myself that I am my own competition and only I can out do me.”
“Ray RockBaby’s” future consists of expanding his franchise – branching out into soundtracks, advertising jingles, film scores and more. You can see and hear more from “Ray RockBaby” by following him on Twitter @RayRockBaby or subscribing to his youtube channel @http://www.youtube.com/RayRockBaby.